When tech entrepreneur Sidney James approached me to write an exclusive about the launch of his new and first legal tech initiative, ‘Loo Law’, I was a bit sceptical. At first it sounded quite bizarre but the more I heard about it the more interesting it became. Was this real legal innovation at play?
Sidney’s research shows that 83% of the population are bored when sitting on the loo and would rather do something else at the same time. Often people take a book or newspaper with them to the WC. In recent times their smart phone accompanies them.
James thinks this is an excellent opportunity to meet people’s legal needs. He told me:-
Where Lawyers2You and QualitySolicitors got it wrong with kiosks in shopping centres and WH Smith shops, respectively, was that their prospective customers were busy. They were out shopping for a purpose or in a hurry to quickly buy something before catching a train.
However a prospective customer doing their daily ablutions is a captive customer. They are likely to be more engaged with a lawyer when sitting on the loo than they ever will be in a busy shopping precinct. It is also a much more private and confidential place to discuss legal business.
So how does it work I asked James? I assumed a lawyer would not be present in the loo with the client but that technology would bridge the gap of the ‘engaged’ sign! I was correct as James enlightened me on the Tech to be deployed:-
We will use proven technology to deliver legal services to the loo.
What we will provide is an App for their smart phone to enable them to seamlessly connect with one of our loo lawyers.
No shiny new/hyped AI or blockchain involved or necessary. There may be a toilet chain in the loo but that is for the customers use at the end of the consultation for obvious reasons. We have, however, also included a ‘flush’ icon on the App for the customer to end the consultation.
They can ask legal questions and receive advice via the App by text, voice or video. Although James admitted that video might not be a popular choice in the loo compared to the others. Although special technology within the App will block out background noise, within reason, for the delicate ears of the loo lawyers.
James sees the concept expanding to in-cubical headsets in public WCs, branded ‘Loo Law’ toilet rolls with frequently asked legal questions emblazoned on them and branded toilet brushes. He even talked, beyond that, of the possibility of branded anti-diarrhoea tablets, laxatives and toilet cleaning products.
It was refreshing to see a new legal start up avoiding the unnecessary path of AI and blockchain and thinking first and foremost about customer needs and availability. James has seen a gap in the market and has sat down on it.
Craig Holt and Saleem Arif will be panning themselves that they didn’t latch onto an opportunity like this in the hay days of QualitySolicitors.
But who are the loo lawyers? James explained:-
We have no loo lawyers at the moment but you could be the Number One.
I began to wonder who would have the loo lawyer title of Number Two!
But how can James deliver this service with no lawyers? He further explained:-
At launch of the service today we are looking for lawyers to sign up to provide the service. Once we have sufficient lawyers we will then launch to the public.
No point putting the horse before the cart.
So today’s launch is purely for lawyers.
How will the lawyers get paid, I asked James? He confirmed:-
There will be a minimum payment of 30p to each lawyer for just connecting with someone on the loo. We realise that the customer may disconnect quickly for a variety of reasons but the lawyer will always be guaranteed 30p however short the engagement.
Beyond that the hourly rate will apply but in one second increments as I can’t see fixed fees working fairly for someone going to the toilet. Some will obviously be finished quicker than others.
Those downloading the App will already have given us their credit/debit card details and the average time they spend on the loo. So we can charge them as soon as a loo law consultation ends and the loo law lawyer will have the advantage of knowing how long the consultation is likely to last. Although clearly factors can influence that such as an upset stomach or constipation.
James also recognised that they may have more success with female customers rather than male ones as the former sit down more often when visiting the WC.
Finally I asked James how they decided on the name ‘Loo Law’. He helpfully informed me that:-
We did a lot of design thinking around the name. We got the post it notes and the coloured pens out.
There were lots of good suggestions like WC Law (but the domain was being squatted on by a law firm and linked to their website which has nothing to do with toilets!). There were also others that went straight down the pan like Crapper Law.
Loo Law was clearly the best of them. It says what it does on the tin without being too crude at the same time.
Whilst loolaw.com is already registered and for sale we will consider buying that or, of course, loo.law once we have the necessary number of lawyers to sustain the purchase of such a premium and expensive domain.
When I pointed out that I had carried out a Google search on ‘Loo Law’ and discovered a PI Attorney in New Hampshire, USA called Loo, who trades as ‘Loo Law’, James said:-
Oh dear! We must have missed that when doing our design thinking. I will have to have a chat with Loo Esq. You never know he might want to become our Number One loo lawyer.
Suddenly I was relegated to the possibility of being the Number Two loo lawyer!
If it becomes a sticking point we may have to fall back on some of the other names that were in the pipeline.
Maybe ‘Lav Law’?
‘Lav Law’ short for ‘Lavatory Law’?
That’s brilliant. No one wrote that on their post it notes.
Will the provision of legal advice in the toilet disrupt the legal market? Will legal futurists like Richard Susskind, Jordan Furlong and Mitch Kowalski be enthusing about this innovation? Or will it end up not seeing the light of day or being another failed legal start up? What do you think?
If you are a lawyer interested in registering to be part of a new innovation in providing legal services in the loo you can do so by using the contact form below. ‘Loo Law’ (or ‘Lav Law’ but unlikely to be ‘Crap Law’) simply won’t emerge without you.
Reactions on Social Media
There have been reactions to this post on Twitter and LinkedIn. To keep these together with the post itself I have copied the tweets and comments here:-
— Lucinda Soon (@_lucindasoon_) April 1, 2018
Flushed with pride. https://t.co/161704S1Ir
— Jordan Furlong (@jordan_law21) April 1, 2018
Important and timely. https://t.co/LygmsM9CkE
— Mitch Kowalski (@MEKowalski) April 1, 2018
Absolutely disruptive!!! Congrats and thanks for sharing.
Unfortunately I did nit read it on the loo…
— Hans A. Boeck (@LP_hans) April 2, 2018
And on LinkedIn:-
Lucinda Soon: I wonder what the core hours will be?
Brian Inkster: Think the loo lawyers will have to be available 24/7 😉
Lucinda Soon: Ah yes, very true. I suppose one might expect a morning rush and perhaps an after-lunch height of activity, but an excellent service is indeed a personalised one.
Brian Inkster: Indeed… ‘Loo Law’ will need to be geared up for these peek times. They will need loo lawyers prepared to hold in during the rush.
Lucinda Soon: Sounds like the perfect job. It’s a shame I no longer practise law. Do you think they will consider a KM bolt-on? KM Roll perhaps? It’s the perfect time to knowledge share…
Brian Inkster: Think Sid will be desperate for the loo lawyers to beat a way to his door. Sure he will be open to all ideas and suggestions to make this work. KM might work well with Sid’s ideas about FAQ on his branded loo rolls. Also there could be options to explore with sid re. knowledge sharing between cubicles. Legal info could be passed via the gaps at floor level.
Lucinda Soon: Haha all excellent ideas. Give Sid my best regards. And a very happy Easter to you!
Brian Inkster: Sid asked me to thank you for your input and he very much hopes you will become a loo lawyer. The Number One and Number Two slots remain available 😉 And a very happy Easter to you too from Sid and I.
Brian Morgan: Will subscribers have to lodge a deposit before they can avail of the service?
Brian Inkster: Think it is just the 30p deposit to access the loo lawyer whether or not you then continue on a time and line basis of 1 second increments. But a larger deposit may need to be considered to deter time wasters.
Alex Heshmaty: What a solid brain dump of an idea – let’s hope it doesn’t get flushed away as another crap legal tech startup…
Brian Inkster: That is the worry. Sign up has so far been slow. But Sid is putting that down to the Easter Holidays and is expecting (hoping for) a rush from today as lawyers return to their desks and see this innovative opportunity as a way to flush their law firm with success.
Michael Burne: Inspired for all us A1 Fools. Love it. Pass the paper…
Brian Inkster: You will need to pass Sid something stronger than paper. He has just become aware of https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/2890620/stop-taking-phone-toilet-immediately-germs/ and is crapping himself about the future viability of ‘Loo Law’.
Graham Britten: There are piles to be made from that idea Brian.
Brian Inkster: Another marketing opportunity for ‘Loo Law’ perhaps – branded cream?
Drew Long: What a load of pants! 😉